Robin Dance

essays on faith, aging, parenting, wandering and wondering

Navigation Menu

The best fried okra in the world

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 | 13 comments


Worlds Best Fried Okra Recipe

Fried okra is my favorite vegetable from the womb.


Before I had eyes to see or a nose to smell or tastebuds to tickle, I’m sure it was my favorite because my mama was Southern born, too.

I’ve made it for years, but it was only in last year’s July Southern Living that I discovered the absolute best recipe for frying okra.  Wouldn’t you know it–it uses the secret ingredient my grandmother always said would make any dish better:

a teaspoon of sugar

Had I just followed Dambarr’s advice, I coulda been makin’ okra perfection for years.

This is pure Southern delicacy.  If you’ve never had it, now is the time to get your Paula Deen on!

Southern Living Buttermilk Fried Okra

  • 1 lb fresh okra, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
  • Vegetable oil

1.  Stir together okra and buttermilk in a large bowl.  Stir together cornmeal mix and next 3 ingredients in a separate large bowl.  Remove okray from buttermilk, in batches, using a slotted spoon.  Dredge in cornmeal mixture, and place in a wire-mesh strainer.  Shake off excess.

2.  Pour oil to depth of 1 inch into a large, deep cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven; heat to 375°.  Fry okra, in batches, 4 minutes or until golden, turning once.  Drain on paper towels.

–> The sugar in the cornmeal coating caramelizes as the okra cooks, creating a crisp, golden crust.

God bless Southern Living.  Amen.


*Note:  I rarely keep buttermilk in the house so I use a substitution; to one cup of warmed milk add either:

  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice OR
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar OR
  • 1-3/4 tablespoons of cream of tartar

Stir and let stand 5-10 minutes.



Read More

A Culinary Delight of Epic Proportion
Banana Pudding, Southern Living-style

Posted by on Jan 10, 2011 | 9 comments

DSC_0291 It has been forever-and-a-day since I've had any, and never since I made it myself, but homemade, custard-style Banana Pudding is absolute magic in your mouth.  One bite while it's still warm from the oven and your tastebuds will applaud in tonguegasmic approval.  

If it's been a while since you've had any, I promise you've forgotten how scrumptious Banana Pudding can be.  My kids thought they wouldn't like it; bless their hearts (and shame on their mother)–they've only known the Cool Whip/sour cream/INSTANT {horrors} PUDDING variety, and that, my friends, is not even in the same stratosphere as this.  We're talking apples and…snow tires!

Most of the ingredients you'll have on hand, but it's worth a trip to the Publix to pick up bananas and vanilla wafers.  


Southern Living Banana Pudding

  • 3½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1? cups of sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (12-ounce) package vanilla wafers
  • 6 medium bananas
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Pre-heat oven to 325°F.  Combine flour, 1? cups of sugar & salt in heavy saucepan.  Beat egg yolks; combine yolks and milk, mixing well.  Stir into dry ingredients; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened.  Remove from heat; stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Layer ? of wafers in a 3-quart baking dish.  Slice 2 bananas and layer over wafers.  Pour ? of the custard over bananas.  Repeat layers twice (it's dessert lasagna!!).

Beat egg whites with electric mixer until foamy.  Gradually add ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, and beat until blended.  Spread meringue over custard, sealing to edge of dish.

Bake at 325°for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Yield:  8-10 servings.


* * * * * * * * * * *

If you haven't yet discovered A Southern Fairytale's Mouthwatering Mondays for tons of great recipes, it's my pleasure to introduce you!  Salivation will commence shortly :).  Also submitted for WFMW at We are THAT Family because this dessert definitely worked for us! 🙂

Read More

Reason #427 I love the South

Posted by on Dec 14, 2010 | 6 comments

Only a born-and-bred Southerner can fully 


        c e l e b r a t e


a sad, tired, pitiful excuse of snow, which of course sends the masses for bread and milk and closes schools during exams.   


{View from our kitchen window, overlooking our hilly backyard behind a brick wall.}

I'm sure those under mountains of snow are just shaking your heads and blessin' my heart, but all I know is Sunday afternoon while it flurried frozen sparkles and magic all afternoon, I lived in a snow globe.  

And for a tiny sliver of time, it was the happiest place on earth :).



Read More


Posted by on Aug 29, 2010 | 9 comments

Marcia Brody and Bill Cosby do for "Southern" what Abbott and Costello did for baseball with their "Who's on First" routine.  If you're a Southerner, you'll relate; if you aren't, it might be even funnier!  

Enjoy the laughs…mine were out loud :).  (And I did click through to her second video…I 'bout lost it when she said, "I don't speak Jamaican…!")   

Read More

Trust and Obey Ain’t Just an Old Church Hymn

Posted by on Aug 4, 2010 |

"Can you follow directions–can you really follow directions?"

Biltmore Estate forest

It wasn't so much a question, repetition and tone suggested gentle insistence.  I hesitated before responding because I know something about myself–

Sometimes I think…

I'm smarter than the directions….

or that my instinct is better…

or the directions couldn't really be right, could they?

I'll make a decision based on feelings or perception or, worse, arrogance (ouch).   

"Y-e-e-e-s," I faltered, my inner Honesty Police betraying a lack of conviction.

"If you will trust me, if you'll do exactly what I tell you to do, you won't have any problems."  

* * * * *

Ooooh, what am I talkin' about??  Please click to continue reading "Trust and obey ain't just an old church hymn" over at (in)courage to find out! 

Secret Hint:  I discovered a beautiful picture of faith while being schooled in a Land Rover Driving Experience at Biltmore!

Read More

Laundry & lines & suds & such

Posted by on Aug 3, 2010 | 2 comments

I love my hometown; though it was never as small, it’s Mayberry to me.

A few weeks ago I went back to celebrate my niece’s first birthday.  Since my parents aren’t living, it’s not a trip I make often enough.

Walking though Five Points, I relish the places that remain untouched by time.  A critical eyebrow raises at anything new and shiny.

The laundromat’s open door was a magnet, and immediately I was drawn to these lines.  Aren’t they gorgeous??

Black and white laundromat


I wasn’t seeing this in color…I was seeing it in black and white.



My sister is used to my photography insanity by now; she didn’t blink an eye when I was compelled to shoot washers and dryers.  Maybe because as a mother who’s washed a squillion loads, she wants to SHOOT washers and dryers!


Memory fails me; I can’t remember if this place was here when I was a little girl traipsing up and down Lumpkin Street.


But that doesn’t matter.  It felt like home.

Read More

Are you on the mailing list?


Get updates delivered hot and fresh to your inbox.

PLUS receive exclusive content reserved ONLY for my subscribers!

You have Successfully Subscribed!